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Utes are stockpiling highly touted quarterbacks. Here is how 1 recent commit fared at Elite 11 camp

Nate Johnson, from Clovis High in California, turned in an uneven performance, struggling the first day before showing some improvement.

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Utah freshman Ja’Quinden Jackson could be a secret weapon for Utah’s offense this season.

Utah Utes quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson runs during spring game in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 17, 2021.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

No doubt, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham and his coaching staff are serious about pursuing highly touted quarterbacks. 

Not only did the Utes sign four-star prospect Peter Costelli last December, but Baylor transfer Charlie Brewer and Texas transfer Ja’Quinden Jackson also joined the program shortly thereafter.

Then, in June, Utah received commitments from a pair of three-star quarterback prospects — Nate Johnson from Clovis High (California) and Brandon Rose from Murrieta Valley High (California). 

Johnson had offers from programs like Michigan, UCLA, Arizona State, TCU and Oregon State before he pledged to the Utes. 

“I loved it there on my visit. Everything about the trip was great, from the campus, to the relationships I have with the coaches to the fit in the offense,” Johnson told 247 Sports about his visit to Utah. “The coaching staff really stands out for me and just being around them and how welcoming everyone was meant a lot.

“The players on the team were great with me as well. It’s a big family there and you definitely sense that the players and coaches have a great relationship with each other. I loved how relatable everyone was with me and I think Utah is the best all-around fit.”

Last week, Johnson participated in the Elite 11 in Manhattan Beach, California, with the top 20 prep QBs in the country, including Clemson commit Cade Klubnik; Texas commit Maalik Murphy; Florida commit Nick Evers; USC commit (and Corner Canyon QB) Devin Brown; Alabama commit Ty Simpson; and Ohio State commit Quinn Ewers. 

Johnson turned in an uneven performance at the Elite 11, as he struggled on the first day before showing some improvement.   

In the end, Johnson was ranked No. 19 out of the 20 quarterbacks. 

This is how SI All-American’s John Garcia evaluated Johnson’s performance on Day 3: 

“If we scored utilizing the best balls of the workout, Johnson would rank near the top of the list. He was boom or bust Friday with stark contrasts in accuracy between starting hot and getting the staff excited and missing the RPO shot high on multiple occasions in a row. Utah has one of the most intriguing signal-callers headed to campus and the ceiling for the decisive and twitchy talent is there.”